Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Christmas Offensive: 1400 Point Hold the Line

Merry Christmas Everyone!
Last night I got home from work and immediately set up a "Hold the Line" scenario from the FoW rulebook.  I introduced a-lot of concepts from the rules that I had not previously played like minefields, and ambush, as well as reserves, artillery and airpower.  So this game was a really interesting one.

Game took place on the Ostfront I would say in 43.  Germans have the upgunned Panzer IIIs and a small Tiger platoon along with some other accessories and the Russians guessed it!  Shedloads of tanks!
Panzer IIIs advance towards the line

German left.  Tigers, Marder IIIs, Mech Infantry and a little kubelwagon!

Facing a Russian Infantry Company dug-in with an HMG in support

The Russians had a T-70 light tank platoon in the woodline by the objective - the German objective is clearly visible 

Germans make it to the collective farm and storm it!  Bogging down 2 tanks in the process...

There is a nice surprised waiting for them in front of the Russian positions...ACHTUNG!  MINEN!  Mines and lots of them.

The Tigers and Marders halt on the road, wondering what to do next...

After a few turns of sustained shooting, the Russians lose a critical morale roll and the company evaporates!

Russian tanks arrive in the nick of time!

and immediately take casualties

The Germans are getting pummeled by Artillery fire at the road.  One halftrack manages to pass all of the rolls necessary to cross a minefield.

Things are starting to shape up.  The Russian tanks on the far side have been crushed from accurate Tiger-fire and German artillery.  The German advance on the German right (left of the picture) has ground to a halt with all Panzer IIIs knocked out!  

Finally some good rolling!  The Marders cross safely, as do the Tigers.  The German infantry is in real trouble though as they have too many halftracks knocked out!
This game was an intense nail-biter with the Russians getting new "stuff" pretty much every turn.  Their artillery was devastating too.  Even in bombardments, 122mm is awful and managed to knock out a Tiger tank, and a few halftracks as well as half of my infantry.

The plan was to smoke the crossing then cross the minefield and assault the infantry.  Luckily for me, the infantry skedaddled off the battlefield and the crossing was almost unimpeded except for the Russian artillery at the road and the awful mines.  (by the way, the mines also took out a tiger, and numerous Panzer IIIs).  The Russians broke first by way of company (battalion) morale but just barely.  Unfortunately for the Kommissar, there was no one else left to execute as the Company broke!  (by the way, that rule did save the day once during the game for Ivan).  Speaking of bad rolls for Ivan, each turn Russian's managed to roll 1 flight of aircraft and the Germans managed to roll fighter interception!  Until they both ran out of dice....

The Germans managed to take the objective with...the most un-sexy and ugly German vehicle of the game, my Marder III platoon.  Which, to Battlefronts' horror, were Axis and Allies Marders!!!  But they fit in nicely.

So that was my epic, huge Christmas-Eve Flames of War game.  What a meatgrinder!

Some lessons learned are pretty obvious - you should include recce in bigger games to detect ambushes early.  Also keep track of your assets.  My Stug III platoon went a few turns (camouflaged in the hedges!) without shooting for the simple reason that I forgot about them...

I hope everyone who celebrates Christmas has a wonderful one, and everyone else has a great day!

PS Sorry for the crappier than usual pictures - taken off my phone!


  1. Looks like fun. I like East Front games!

    1. It was fun - East Front games have that great, epic feeling to them.

  2. In my view, forgetting about this or that unit is a recommendation for the type of game you play. If the pressures of command are such that some detail is apt to slip the mind, I reckon you might have a game that at least fulfils some criteria of a simulation... :-)

    1. Thanks for commenting, AP - right you are. There was plenty going on and keeping track of everything was difficult to say the least. That's what military units have a staff for!

      Focusing on one aspect of an ongoing battle was historically a problem for commanders and the great captains of history had a knack for battlefield intuition where they could keep track of things going on and react appropriately to opportunities as they presented themselves. Those difficulties became apparent in this game where my assets, status of platoons and success in the battle were all important elements to maintain situational awareness of.

  3. The photos are not that crappy Steven.

    I always find Bn Command much easier than Bde or Div as less seem to slip my attention...Mind you I am a simple soul.

    Have a good festive break.

    1. Paul,
      I too am a simple soul! I enjoy simple games - the simpler the better.